Federal Building Codes

There is no federally-enforced building code nor is any federal agency charged with administering building codes at the national level.

International Code Council

The International Code Council (ICC), a nonprofit private organization, maintains the most up-to-date model building codes, which include standards for storm surge and wind damage. These model building codes, which address both commercial and residential construction, can be adopted in part or in toto by state or local governments. Specific provisions have been established for wind and flood hazards.

Institute of Business and Home Safety

The Institute of Business and Home Safety (IBHS), a non-profit insurance industry group, provides education and outreach on a number of issues dealing with natural hazards, including model codes for state and local governments. The IBHS maintains a comprehensive database of codes and ordinances. Of particular note is the Showcase State Model for Disaster Resistance and Resilience: A Guidebook for Loss Reduction Partnerships. The figure below shows an excerpt from this plan detailing a checklist for both the building code and land use plan components of this state model.

The IBHS also manages a model program of residential standards, specifically developed for coastal and other hazardous areas, which exceeds the ICC codes. The “Fortified Homes” program uses techniques and materials specifically designed to confer homes with greater resistance to winds and floods. Insurers provide discounts for homes meeting these standards.*

Table which introduces building code and land use plan elements of Why? and What?

Building code and Land Use Plan elements from the Institute for Business and Home Safety Showcase State Model for Disaster Resistance and Resilience

FEMA Guidance

FEMA’s Coastal Construction Manual provides additional guidance on building techniques for hazardous coastal areas.

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